Along The Avenue: Pilgrims, Babies & Birthdays


First, I never want to celebrate my birthday again; I suspect neither does Patti Jahncke. Our birthdays fall on August 29 and 30 – big days for hurricanes, evacuations and all hell breaking loose. Which is how we found ourselves in the same car headed to Texas the day after Hurricane Ida blasted through town, creating mayhem and power outages. With her calm, sensible husband Tommy behind the wheel, we headed to Patti’s mother’s house in Longview, Texas, and then Tommy drove me another two hours to drop me at DWF airport. Now that’s a gentleman and a pal! 

Two hours later I was off to Madrid to begin walking the Camino Santiago de Compostela with 16 other pilgrims lead by Rev. Kit McLean and her husband Bill. In six days, our group tackled last 62 miles of roads that have been walked since 1211 AD. The roads were narrow and wide, and lined with pastures of sheep and cows, small family-owned taverns, stone houses, babbling streams and beautiful flowers from orchids to bougainvillea. The route is dotted with holy sites and makeshift monuments marked by short columns decorated with scallop shapes of gold and arrows pointing the way. As they walk, pilgrims leave rocks, rosaries and even shoes to honor loved ones or mark the end of their journey. There was chatter, contemplation, laughter and, when we finally arrived in front of the magnificent cathedral, tears of joy before a celebratory lunch in the bar of the Posada de Santiago Hostel Reis Católicos, once a 14th century hospital turned five-star hotel.

Among the group were expectant grandmothers Debbie Poitevent and Christa Montgomery, who restrained their grandbaby buying sprees until after Compostela’s end – then lit out like bees! These are going to be some very well dressed and well prayed for kiddos. At home, little Millie Poitevent Sanders, whose birthday is October 2, painted a banner for her baby brother, Charles Eads Sanders, born October 5. And Erin and Robert Montgomery’s ardent work on their new home aroused an excited baby Robert II who decided to arrive two weeks early on October 1. 

Skipping a few generations but in time for the new James Bond flix, Billy Treadway walked into Tipitana’s and was met with shouts of “Surprise!” The martinis were on tap – shaken not stirred – while Shaon & The Girls with Success rocked out and guests danced among life-sized cutouts of a tuxedoed 007. Here’s the thing: Billy has had a man crush on Bond for years, so for his 70th his wife and children pulled off the theme – and he loved every minute of it. Among the throng were the Billy Langensteins, the Richard Rousels, the Waldo Otises, the Hardie Fowlers, Janie Eshleman, Alice Parkerson, Brooke Duncan and lots of others.

Rounding out birthday news is none other than the gracious, lovely and smiling Edna Colton who turned 100! She’s so spry and game she was spotted wearing a blue chiffon pantsuit and a tiara while dancing with family members to the music of Johnny Parker’s “Ain’t She Sweet?” The answer is yes, she is, and fun, too. Happy Birthday, Edna!

The season is now in full swing with benefits, deb parties, weddings, tailgating and Thanksgiving. Neither Ida nor Covid can keep New Orleans down!


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